“Scenes from the passion” Lent devotion for Saturday, February 20, 2021. Artwork by Susan Zendt copyright 2021 used by permission.
“Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Him to them. When they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him silver. So he looked for how he might conveniently betray Him” (Mark 14:10-11).
For two thousand years, we’ve been wondering, “Judas, why did you do it?” Why did you cut a deal with the chief priests to betray Jesus?
Was it the money? Did you need a few bucks? People will do outrageous things for money. Some folks work a crazy amount of hours. Others buy a daily lottery ticket. Some sell their bodies. Others cheat on their taxes.
Were you just pretending to be a disciple, Judas? Do get close to Jesus, patiently gaining his trust for more than three years, just so you could bring him down?
Were you possessed? Were you under the control of Satan, who was determined to bring a second Adam, Jesus, down like he did the first?
Were you just a pawn in a much bigger plan? After all, didn’t the scriptures have to be fulfilled?
Judas was chosen by Jesus. He was one of the twelve. He went out just like the other disciples and cast out demons and healed many who were sick. He gave out food to a crowd of over 5,000, and took home a basket of leftovers. He was in the boat when Jesus calmed the storm. He was the one they trusted with the money.
Judas was also the one Jesus knew would turn him in. He was a tattletale. A stoolie. A pigeon. A rat. A confidential informant. No one likes you. But someone will be more than happy to use your services.
I like to believe I am nothing like Judas. That works until someone says to me, “I thought I could trust you.” Or, “I told you that in confidence.” Or, “I thought I could count on you.” And then I realize I’m just another chosen by Jesus who will let him down.
It’s Jesus’ faithfulness that saves the day, not mine. Can you count on me? Maybe. If I’m having a good day. But you can always count on him.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your faithfulness. I know how easy it is to let you down. Thank you, too, for your forgiveness in Christ. Amen.